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Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Knowledge gaps or trenches? Historiographical integrity in English Wikipedia's coverage of post-division Korean topics

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statusnot funded
Knowledge gaps or trenches? Historiographical integrity in English Wikipedia's coverage of post-division Korean topics
start and end datesJuly 2023 - July 2024
budget (USD)40,000-45,000 USD
fiscal year2022-23
applicant(s)• Alex Jiyun Jung




Alex Jiyun Jung

Affiliation or grant type

University of Toronto Libraries


Alex Jiyun Jung

Wikimedia username(s)

Alex Jung: User:Utl_jung, occasionally User:DotoriJY

Project title

Knowledge gaps or trenches? Historiographical integrity in English Wikipedia's coverage of post-division Korean topics

Research proposal




Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.

Valuable research in recent years has yielded generative discussion on knowledge gaps, among them the taxonomy of knowledge gaps for Wikimedia projects. Yet in clear view of its utility and potential, one may also note that a knowledge "gap" is more readily deployed as a concept in information science than in historical or philosophical approaches. Where two groups have parity in content and interactive representation, are our needs for trust and good information on Wikipedia met? What are the implications of a response to this question, for our knowledge equity toolkits and for Wikipedia policies?

I hope to investigate these questions in view of the English Wikipedia's coverage of (South and North) Korea-related topics between the present day and 1953, year of the Korean War armistice. This is a contested site of historiography, heavily affected by the politics of an Anglophone informational landscape in which the English-speaking world has had great stakes in the unequal representation of the two Koreas following division. As Andre Schmid (2008) writes: "In the unequal global cultural arena where English still dominates, the direction of Korean Studies in the United States disproportionately shapes international representations of Korean culture." While there is no one-to-one relationship between the output of Korean Studies in the United States and all possible sources on post-division Korea-related topics, the described dynamic parallels the extent to which such representational differences visible in the English Wikipedia mirror and shape popular understanding and diplomatic relations.

This research will have three components. First, I will apply the content and contributor dimensions of the taxonomy to the sum of relevant articles to assess the corresponding states of knowledge equity in topical coverage. In view of historiographical analysis, I am particularly interested in the distribution of roles (4.2.2) in contributors and how barriers (5.3) to content integrity ought to be understood in light of English-language source politics. Second, I will seek to extrapolate constructive implications for the taxonomy and any other relevant knowledge equity toolkits. Third, I will produce actionable, community-oriented documentation (e.g. tasklists, open bibliographies) in view of future Wikiproject involvement and editing programming.






Approximate amount requested in USD.

40,000-45,000 USD

Budget Description

Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).

  • Salary or stipend: 30,000 USD (20,000 direct costs in summer-fall + 10,000 community knowledge mobilisation budget)
  • Benefits: 3,500 USD (U.S. community hire)
  • Equipment: 2,500 USD
  • OA publishing: 3,000 USD
  • Conferences and travel: 2,000 USD



Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.

The proposed research will support future Wikipedia community engagement (Wikiprojects; students and researchers as new editors) which improves knowledge equity and historiographical integrity on post-division Korea-related topics. By identifying knowledge gaps vis-à-vis the taxonomy, the research will identify topics for impact (8) and inform strategies to provide for safety and inclusion (3) of less experienced but knowledgeable editors who may find themselves discouraged from editing. I hope to support innovation in free knowledge (9) by offering constructive criticism of Wikipedia policies as barriers of access to now-peripheral content.



Plans for dissemination.

I will communicate research findings in two directions: one in knowledge systems with a view to Wikipedia and source interactions; another in STS/Korea studies with a view to politics of accessible historiography. This may involve publication, conferences, and scholarly community outreach. For the Wikipedia community, I am keen to disseminate actionable documentation. This may include an open bibliography, tasklist, and Wikiproject engagement. I also hope to organise editing programming.

Past Contributions


Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.

I serve as Open Knowledge Specialist (previously Wikipedian-in-Residence) at the University of Toronto, where I comprehensively support WM-related engagements and research. I have run 100+ workshops for various audiences. I co-organise LD4-Wikidata Affinity Group and stewarded its transition to open organising.

I wrote my MA thesis on the politics of scholarship on Korean state formation, 1953–73. I have published on GLAM-Wiki developments and on the place of WD in archival descriptive systems. I am now co-authoring WD best practices for pronouns. For sample WP contributions, see Connaught Laboratories; History of diabetes; Help:Archival material.

Beyond WM, I co-organised Civic Tech Toronto (2017-20) and led multiple open tech events.

I agree to license the information I entered in this form excluding the pronouns, countries of residence, and email addresses under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. I understand that the decision to fund this Research Fund application, the application itself along with all the information entered by my in this form excluding the pronouns, country of residences, and email addresses of the personnel will be published on Wikimedia Foundation Funds pages on Meta-Wiki and will be made available to the public in perpetuity. To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, I agree that any output of my research will comply with the WMF Open Access Policy. I also confirm that I have read the privacy statement and agree to abide by the WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.